Cup of Joe – April 17, 2023

“House Republicans will try to agree on a plan to lift the federal $31.4 trillion debt ceiling and cut government spending when Congress returns this week, after being stymied for months by Democratic President Joe Biden’s demands they do so without conditions,” Reuters reports.

“House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a Monday speech at the New York Stock Exchange will lay out the conditions Republicans want Democrats to agree to in exchange for movement on the debt ceiling.”

Washington Post: “House Republicans are finalizing a proposal that would raise the debt ceiling for roughly one year while slashing federal spending and unwinding some of President Biden’s top priorities, including student debt cancellation.”

“The emerging GOP framework could raise the debt ceiling into 2024, covering roughly $2 trillion in spending … That proposal would reduce spending at federal health-care, education, science and labor agencies to levels adopted in the 2022 fiscal year, amounting potentially to a roughly $130 billion cut. Those agencies also would be subject to new spending caps.”

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy is accelerating the long-stalled push for a unified House GOP strategy in Washington’s high-stakes debt ceiling standoff,” Politico reports.

“But his opening offer on the debt limit is riddled with potential political pitfalls — including an expiration date that would tee up another high-stakes fiscal fight just months before the 2024 presidential election.”

“If these sons-of-bitches want to try to end-run us, game on.” — Rep, Chip Roy (R-TX), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, rejecting proposals for the moderate Problem Solvers Caucus to raise the debt limit.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) returned to the Capitol Friday.

“Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts Air National Guard member suspected of leaking a trove of classified military intelligence, was charged by the federal government Friday with retention and transmission of national defense information and willful retention of classified documents,” the Washington Post reports.

“The two criminal charges carry a maximum of 15 years in prison. Teixeira did not enter a plea and is detained pending a hearing on Wednesday.”

Former Rep. Liz Cheney said that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene should not have a security clearance after Greene defended the Air National Guardsman suspected of leaking a trove of classified documents, NBC News reports.

Said Cheney: “Marjorie Taylor Greene makes clear yet again that she cannot be trusted with America’s national security information and should not have a security clearance of any kind.”

 “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has doubled down on the state’s restrictions against abortion services,” People reports.

“On Thursday, DeSantis announced that he signed the Heartbeat Protection Act into law, which will now require a woman to provide proof that the pregnancy was a result of rape, incest or human trafficking in order to receive an abortion up until 15 weeks of gestation.”

“Documentation can include a restraining order, police report, medical record or other evidence.”

The Economist: Ron DeSantis’s six-week abortion ban brings risks to women.

Washington Post: “The governor’s quiet embrace of the six-week ban reflects his team’s political calculations heading into 2024, as he gears up for a presidential primary where hard-line activists and voters wield influence.”

“It underlines the continued pressure in the GOP for politicians to embrace tighter laws — even as numerous Republicans, including some DeSantis allies, worry that abortion bans have helped sink their candidates in critical general elections. And it highlights DeSantis’s longtime reluctance to make abortion a signature part of his public profile, though he has enacted major changes to laws on the procedure.”

“One of former president Donald Trump’s top lawyers on the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case is no longer working on the matter after he appeared before a federal grand jury last month,” the Washington Post reports.

“Evan Corcoran is still representing Trump in other cases, such as special counsel Jack Smith’s probe into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

“Prosecutors investigating Trump’s taking classified documents to his Mar-a-Lago Club after leaving office won a court fight that allowed them to question Corcoran when judges ruled that he could not use attorney-client privilege to avoid disclosing information about his communications with Trump. Prosecutors cited an exception to the legal principle that lawyers must keep confidential what they are told by their clients when there is evidence that a client used the attorney’s legal services in furtherance of a crime.”

NBC News: “A ruling on Trump’s motion [to prevent Pence’s testimony] could come within days, based on how quickly the circuit ruled on previous similar requests from the former president. If the court declines to stay the lower court’s order, Trump would be left with no options to stop Pence’s testimony other than appealing to the Supreme Court.”

“Fox News formally apologized to the judge in the Dominion defamation case, taking responsibility for the ‘misunderstanding’ regarding Rupert Murdoch’s role at the network that led the judge to launch an investigation into potential legal misconduct by Fox,” CNN reports.

“Over the last two decades, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has reported on required financial disclosure forms that his family received rental income totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a firm called Ginger, Ltd., Partnership,” the Washington Post reports.

“But that company — a Nebraska real estate firm launched in the 1980s by his wife and her relatives — has not existed since 2006.”

“That year, the family real estate company was shut down and a separate firm was created, state incorporation records show. The similarly named firm assumed control of the shuttered company’s land leasing business, according to property records.”

“Since that time, however, Thomas has continued to report income from the defunct company — between $50,000 and $100,000 annually in recent years — and there is no mention of the newer firm, Ginger Holdings, LLC, on the forms.”

Washington Post: “Democrats have so successfully cultivated TikTok clout and the soapbox it provides for young voters — in contrast to Republicans’ far less enthusiastic embrace — that party operatives are now drawing up detailed plans to dramatically expand its use in the 2024 campaign.”

“But that strategy is colliding head-on with the Biden administration’s push to crack down on TikTok. Fearing that the app’s Chinese ownership could pose a security threat, the administration, through a powerful interagency committee, is pushing a plan that would require TikTok’s Chinese owners to divest from the popular video app.”

A new CBS News poll finds 67% of Americans want to see the abortion pill mifepristone remain available.   Even some who are more generally opposed to abortion hold this view.  And these views are not purely partisan: almost half of Republicans think the medication ought to be available.

Washington Post: “The judge who delivered a high-stakes abortion pills ruling last week removed his name from a law review article during his judicial nomination process, emails show.”

“Montana lawmakers approved a first-of-its-kind bill to ban TikTok across the state, setting the stage for future court battles that could determine the fate in the U.S. of the popular, Chinese-owned social media app,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It would fine any entity violating this law $10,000 per violation. It’s unclear how some elements of the legislation would be enforced.”

“Florida House lawmakers have approved a bill that would lower the state’s threshold for the death penalty and make it one of the few states to allow the death penalty without a unanimous jury recommendation,” the Washington Post reports.

“The bill, which passed the state House on Thursday in an 80-30 vote and passed the Senate last month, allows capital punishment if eight of 12 jurors approve, instead of requiring a unanimous jury.”

“It now awaits Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s signature.”

Peter Wehner: “We’re watching Trump-induced idiocy. For more than seven years, Republicans have defended Trump’s cruel, unethical, and deranged behavior. They are constantly having to deny what they have become in service to him. It’s created cognitive dissonance. How can the party of “family values” defend a moral degenerate like Trump? How can law-and-order Republicans defend a violent insurrection and threats against judges and prosecutors? How can “constitutional conservatives” rally around a man who attempted to subvert the Constitution by overthrowing an election?”

“The human mind’s capacity to rationalize such things is extraordinary, but not limitless. Some Republicans have the sense, even if it’s only in their quiet moments, that they have acted not only hypocritically but dishonorably. And it gnaws at them. They know they would eviscerate any Democrat who did a fraction of what Trump did. They therefore have to expend enormous psychological energy to keep from becoming sick with themselves for what they have become. Shame is a toxic emotion, and it often causes people to direct hostility outward rather than inward…”

“As we’ve seen in Tennessee, this frantic state of mind leads Republicans to preposterous places and to act in politically self-destructive ways. One of the two most important political parties in the world is dominated by people who are enraged, embittered, and anarchic.”

“President Joe Biden is poised to nominate two Hispanic women to be judges on powerful federal appeals courts,” NBC News reports.

“He will pick Irma Carrillo Ramirez to serve on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She currently serves as a magistrate judge in Texas and is expected to receive bipartisan support in the Senate, a source involved with the nomination said. If confirmed, she’d be the first Latina to serve on the famously conservative appeals court.”

“The president also intends to pick Ana Isabel de Alba to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She is currently a federal district court judge in California.”

“China is refusing to let US secretary of state Antony Blinken visit Beijing over concerns that the FBI will release the results of an investigation into the downed suspected Chinese spy balloon,” the Financial Times reports.

NBC News: Leaked documents reveal new details about Chinese spy balloon.

“U.S. intelligence agencies were aware of up to four additional Chinese spy balloons, and questions lingered about the true capabilities of the one that flew over the continental United States in January and February, according to previously unreported top-secret intelligence documents,” the Washington Post reports.

Associated Press: “The sanctions against Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) include freezing his assets and properties in China, prohibiting any organization or individual in China from conducting transactions or working with him, and denying him a visa to enter the country.”

New York Times: “When the Supreme Court declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage nearly eight years ago, social conservatives were set adrift. … And it left them searching for a cause that — like opposing gay marriage — would rally the base and raise the movement’s profile on the national stage.”

A bill “would limit what can be taught on Tennessee college campuses,” WMC-TV reports.

“Professors and students on Tennessee college and university campuses could face penalties for discussing topics that the bill calls divisive.”

“The bill lists 17 different divisive topics not to be discussed such as whether one race or sex is inherently superior or inferior to another race or sex. It also bans teaching an individual by virtue of the individual’s race or sex is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

Wired: “State lawmakers in Texas are considering a bill introduced last month that would make it illegal to provide information on how to access abortion. The bill would also require internet service providers to block websites offering content like that … allow prosecution of abortion pill ‘distribution networks,’ and permit anyone to sue a person who shared anything about how to access a medical abortion.”

“The proposal borrows from a Texas law passed in 2021 that offers a cash bounty to citizens who sue a person who helped facilitate access to abortion care.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) told an audience that her nearly two-year-old grandchild already has several guns, including a shotgun and a rifle.

A Texas Capitol staffer has alleged that state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R) had “sexual relations” with an intern about two weeks ago, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Donald Trump on Friday filed his personal financial disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission – offering the public a first look at his post-presidential finances, CNN reports.

“More than 14 million adults across the United States who receive Medicaid are at risk of losing dental health coverage now that the Covid public health emergency is over,” NBC News reports.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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